By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
BRADENTON — They were three different 4×800 relay teams, each with a different reason for motivation.
The Charlotte High School boys unit aimed to add to a rich history.
The North Port girls team sought to establish a legacy of its own.
The Lemon Bay girls unit chased redemption from previous missteps.
Of all those, North Port was the most successful Saturday at the FHSAA track and field state championships at IMG Academy.
North Port had the area’s best 4×800 finish, placing sixth with a time of 9 minutes, 47.68 seconds in the Class 4A finals. The Bobcats won the first heat, and then had to play the waiting game, as the second heat featured some of the best teams in the state.
“It’s come full circle for when they missed out on the state meet in cross country,” North Port coach Phu Nguyen said. “It’s poetic justice, because one of the teams we beat is Steinbrenner, which finished in sixth at cross country regionals, and knocked us out of states.
“We went from the lowest of lows, to the highest of the highs. It’s just a great feeling for these girls.”
Kaley Boethig, Nicole Raczka, Lindsay Boethig and Shelby Cutchineal became the first girls 4×800 relay team to reach the state meet, and made the trip a memorable one.
“This is a huge honor,” Cutchineal said. “I’m just so happy we could finish our year this way, and to do it for Nicole as a senior. We did a lot better than we expected. We’ve made a lot to progress over the last few years, and this is definitely one to remember.”
In the Class 2A finals, Abigayle Weinfeld and Kelsi Ogilvie got some redemption from the previous night.
As temperatures dropped Friday night, it significantly effected all the runners of the 3200-meter race. The wind whipped as the athletes ran across the track, and ultimately, the weather ruined Weinfeld’s night.
“I wanted to make up for what I did yesterday, and run better today,” said Weinfeld, who suffers from asthma and was unable to finish the 3200 because of difficulty breathing midway through the eight-lap race. “We just wanted to go out there and run for each other. All we could do was try our best since the weather changes have been weird.”
Ogilvie fought through the weather, and was going strong until she felt a tightness in one of her legs on the seventh lap. The junior finished 12th place, and wanted more Saturday.
“I definitely knew it was going to be a tough one after last night,” Ogilvie said. “But I knew I had to go out there and run my hardest for my team. It’s a different kind of pressure because you want to do so well for your team.”
The two Manta Rays, along with Kristen Robinson and Maddison Welch propelled Lemon Bay to the medal stand in the 4×800, finishing seventh in a time of 9:55.88.
“They ran pretty well considering last night was so tough,” Lemon Bay coach Joe Casale said. “They medaled and that’s what we were hoping for. All you can do is go out and perform, and they put it all out there.”
The Charlotte boys 4×800 team was making an eighth straight appearance in the state meet with an average finish of 6.7 that included a pair of championships. The team of Justin Uebelacker, Chris Daniele, Chauncey Graham and Marshall Dillon held strong with its historical average on Saturday, placing seventh in the Class 3A portion with a time of 8:05.98.
“Anytime you can get on the stand, you have to proud of what you did,” Charlotte coach Jerry Voss said. “Seventh place is a great accomplishment.”
All three teams came here with a goal in mind, and with the help of some motivation, all three were successful.
Pole vault: Natalie Jen, 2nd
Shot put: Kendall Chavarria, 9th
3200/1600: Marshall Dillon, 10th/14th
4×800: Uebelacker, Daniele, Graham, Dillon, 7th
4×100: Thomas, Hicks, Price, Warren, 7th
High jump: Ronnie Blem, 5th
Discus: Rob Cerami, 13th
3200: Kelsi Ogilvie, 12th; Abigayle Weinfeld DNF
1600: Ogilvie, 10th; Weinfeld 15th
4×800: Weinfeld, Ogilvie, Robinson, Welch, 7th
Pole vault: Morgan Gloster, 6th
Long jump: Alexis Francavilla, 8th
4×800: Boethig, Raczka, Boethig, Cutchineal, 6th